• Strange Notions Strange Notions Strange Notions

How Do You Know You’re Not in the Matrix?

by  
Filed under Man

At the heart of the philosophy of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas is the idea that we come into contact with reality through the senses. But what if our senses are not a reliable source? Perhaps our senses are deceiving us, and everything we perceive isn’t real but is merely an illusion like in the movie The Matrix. Descartes This skepticism of sense knowledge was part of René Descartes’s methodic doubt, which many radical skeptics have adopted. Descartes argued: Whatever I have... Read More

Do Theological Claims Need to be Falsifiable?

Antony Flew’s famous 1950 article “Theology and Falsification” posed what came to be known as the “falsificationist challenge” to theology. A claim is falsifiable when it is empirically testable—that is to say, when it makes predictions about what will be observed under such-and-such circumstances such that, if the predictions don’t pan out, the claim is thereby shown to be false. The idea that a genuinely scientific claim must be falsifiable had already been given currency... Read More

Atheism, Prot-Enlight, and the Schizophrenic Republic

Last week, I wrote about the longstanding Catholic drive to reinterpret the philosophy of Plato as realist. In actuality, Aristotle’s philosophy perfected Plato’s by connecting the material to the formal world—two separated domains which, in Plato, remain wholly alien to one another. Accordingly, it is quite a “stretcher,” I suggested, when Catholics talk about Plato as a realist. Any philosophy which divorces the material and the formal qualifies as anti-realism, because matter’s... Read More

Should We Be Skeptical About Needing a First Cause?

NOTE: Today we kick off an occasional series of exchanges between Catholic theologian Dr. Michael Augros, author of Who Designed the Designer?: A Rediscovered Path to God's Existence (Ignatius Press, 2015), and various email interlocutors. We'll start with the first email question today and Friday we'll share Dr. Augros' response. Enjoy!     Hello Dr. Augros, I am a devout Catholic who recently purchased your book, Who Designed the Designer? I just finished the first chapter... Read More

Did the Fall of Man Really Occur?

by  
Filed under Man

The Catholic Church asserts the truth that mankind has suffered a privation of grace as a consequence of disobedience. By the sin of our first parents we are saddled until the end of time with the defect of Original Sin. Man is fallen. To be born into this world is to be burdened with a life of toil, trial and torment. Adam and Eve were in a state of grace in the Garden of Eden before succumbing to temptation. The doctrine of the fall is a most obvious proposition expounded upon by nearly... Read More

Is a Proof Bad If It Fails to Convince Everyone?

Some atheists will object to arguments for God by observing, "If a particular proof for God is so strong, why doesn't it convince everyone?" This objection is perhaps the most prevalent, and the cheapest one to make, yet a complete answer to it involves several components and is also interesting in its own right. This objector presents the theist with a dilemma: either I must pretend to be a supergenius like none the world has ever seen, presenting new and amazing arguments for God’s... Read More

Materialistic Dogmas and Bad Conclusions

Yuval Noah Harari: What explains the rise of humans?

St. Thomas Aquinas, citing Aristotle, once wrote: “a small error at the outset can lead to great errors in the final conclusions.” What he means is that given the nature of reason, if any one of your premises is mistaken, no matter how trivial it may seem to your overall project, your conclusions may turn out to be wrong, very wrong. A great example of what St. Thomas means can be found in a TED talk by Professor Yuval Noah Harari. In “What Explains the Rise of Humans?”, Harari... Read More

Abortion, Souls, and the Atheist Conundrum

In a recent post here, I asked, “Do You Need God to Know That Abortion is Wrong?” I was prompted by two things: on the one hand, a series of articles defending the idea that we can be moral without God; and on the other, articles like this one, suggesting that opposition to abortion can only be “because God.” Those two positions don't work together. As I explained in the post, The pro-life argument is simple: (1) human beings are alive from the moment of fertilization, and (2)... Read More

Marriage, Natural Law, and the Truth of Sexual Ethics

Gary Gutting is a Notre Dame philosophy professor who thinks that what counts about arguments is whether they “work.” And so his complaint against natural-law arguments for Catholic teachings about sex is that they “no longer work (if they ever did)”. His New York Times “Opinionator” post of March 12th (“Unraveling the Church Ban on Gay Sex”) names us as two people who are “still” exponents of such arguments. For us what counts about an argument is whether it is sound,... Read More

Scholasticism vs. Scientism: An Interview with Dr. Edward Feser

Dr. Edward Feser is one of today's foremost Catholic philosophers who specializes in Aristotelian/Thomistic metaphysics and the philosophy of religion. He's an associate professor of philosophy at Pasadena City College and the author of several published articles and books, including The Last Superstition, Aquinas, and Philosophy of Mind (A Beginner's Guide). He's also written several articles here at Strange Notions. Dr. Feser's newest book, which I'm discussing with him today, is... Read More

Next Page »